Happy Birthday, Lady Jane!

Lady Jane’s Salon, New York City’s first and so far only monthly romance reading series, turns one-year-old this February 1st and oh, my how our Girl has grown!

LADY-jane-logoHelping us blow out the birthday candle are three fabulous guests: bestseller, Lauren Willig (The Betrayal of the Blood Lily), debut author, Sara Lindsey (Promise Me Tonight), and guest emcee, historical nonfiction author Leslie Carroll (Notorious Royal Marriages). Three very lovely ladies reading from three very different books, all of which will be available for purchase on Salon night. I’m just saying…

Now that we’ve come up on the one year mark, it seems a fitting time to both reflect on the past year and look forward to the new year ahead. When Maya, Leanna, Ron and I came up with the concept for Lady Jane’s, we anticipated having ten or so attendees each month. In a very short time, we found ourselves filling up the house to the point where many Salon nights are now standing room only. Feature articles in TIME OUT NEW YORK and THE NEW YORK POST swiftly followed along with tremendous support from the romance fiction community. RT BOOK Reviews, Barbara Vey at Publishers Weekly, Romance Novel TV, the chapter members of Romance Writers of America/NYC, and “Smart Bitch” Sarah Wendell are just a few of our wonderful friends who’ve given us both early and consistent loyalty and support. To them and all the individuals too numerous to name in a mere blog post, thank you!

A big sloppy birthday buss to Amy McCloskey, owner of our wonderful host venue, Madame X, and also to her manager, Karen and bartender, Alex. Without your support, the Salon couldn’t happen. It just couldn’t.

We started the series to provide a home for the books we love to both read and write. The four of us also felt strongly that in addition to the fun and frolic, it was important to broaden our mission to include a service component. Share the Love, Maya’s charitable organization co-founded with Ann Bleakley, has been the recipient of Salon proceeds for the past year, and we look forward to continuing our outreach to groups serving women in need in 2010.

As a Co-Founder, the time and energy I’ve expended have been returned to me tenfold–in the friendships both old and new, the collegiality with publishing professionals representing all aspects of the industry, and the opportunity to build, sustain and now grow something needed and yes, beautiful with three other amazing and creative individuals. Leanna, Maya and Ron, I heart you.

It’s both heartening and humbling to hear how the love we feel for our Brain Child/Baby is reciprocated by the romance community. Salon regular and February guest, Lauren Willig will teach a class on romance fiction this spring at Yale–yes, Y-A-L-E–along with fellow bestseller and Salon regular, Andrea Pickens also W/A Cara Elliott. A recent New Hampshire Register article covering the upcoming class had this to say:

Part of the impetus for the course also came from Willig’s membership in Lady Jane’s Salon, a Manhattan group of writers and readers which meets monthly for readings “and to hang out and drink. It’s become in a very short time an institution and a way for various people from various parts of the industry to share their love of romance novels,” says Willig.

Thank you, Lauren, and thanks to all of you whose unswerving commitment and enthusiasm, loyalty and yes, love have made Lady Jane’s Salon a rousing success.

Hope

Happy Birthday, Lady Jane

Monday, February 1st, 7-9 PM

Madame X (94 W Houston St)

Admission: $5 or one ppb romance novel

Holiday Goodness Challenge 2009

Times are tough, times are hard, nobody’s denying it. And though purse strings may be tight, I’m convinced hearts are bigger and more generous than ever before.

Hope for the Holidays

In keeping with the holiday spirit of counting my many blessings, including the release of Twelve Nights, my Christmas Harlequin Historical Blaze, I’ll be giving away twenty copies of  Vanquished, the first of my “Men of Roxbury House” trilogy to the first twenty readers who donate a minimum of $10 to this year’s Holiday Goodness charitable recipient, Marian’s Dream: Philanthropy for Animal Advocates.

A Good Dream

Founded in 1981 as a memorial to Marian Rosenthal, Marian’s Dream is a 501(c)3 public charity with the mission of helping donors help companion animals through support of innovative programs and projects operating on the local, regional and statewide levels. Funding accessible, low-cost spay/neuter resources is a particular focus.

$200 will provide four feline spays or six feline neuters. If that sounds like a modest goal, consider that one female cat can birth two litters a year. That’s up to a dozen unwanted kittens, many of whom will have additional litters of their own.

Shelters and rescue groups are overwhelmed. The solution lies in prevention.

Goodness Spilleth Over

Hope holds Sweeney, once homeless, now very much homed.
Hope holds Sweeney, once homeless, now very much homed-and loved!

I’ll be running the Holiday Goodness Challenge now through January 1st. You can make your donation to Marian’s Dream online via PayPal or by check. For verification, I’ll need you to send: 1) a copy of your donation receipt, either photocopy or forwarded PayPal receipt, 2) the name of the person to whom you’d like the book inscribed if you’re giving it as a gift, and 3) your snail mail address to me at hope@hopetarr.com or PO Box 1344, New York, NY 10276. If by email, please include “Holiday Goodness Challenge” in the subject header.

As we approach our $200 goal, I’ll be posting the glad tidyings here along with the first names, surname initial and home state of the first twenty generous souls to step up to the proverbial plate.

Thank you for keeping Marian’s beautiful dream of a world with no more homeless pets alive this holiday season.

Hope

PS: As always, please feel free to Re-Tweet or repost and pay the ‘goodness’ forward.

Burning up the Blogosphere

Last Monday’s Lady Jane’s Salon was a superior success, and I’m far from the only one to say so. I’m delighted and yes, humbled by the outpouring of not only congratulatory emails but also blog posts from so very many of you who attended.

Hope catches up with Marjorie M Liu during the break.
Hope catches up with Marjorie M Liu during the break.

Below are links to the bloggers I know who covered the event, including those of fellow founders Leanna Renee Hieber and Maya Rodale.

(L-R) Guest authors Wendy Corsi Staub, Marjorie M. Liu, Diane Gaston & Amanda McCabe.
(L-R) Guest authors Wendy Corsi Staub, Marjorie M. Liu, Diane Gaston & Amanda McCabe.
Romantic Times BOOKreviews (Photos courtesy of Web Manager, Rob)

If you find a post not listed above, please feel free to reply with the link, and I’ll add it most merrily.

A final thank you to our four fabulous readers and to everyone who attended! On tap for the Monday, July 6th Salon: Anthea Lawson and Dee Davis.

Hope

On Behalf of Lady Jane

(L-R) Guest authors Wendy Corsi Staub, Marjorie M. Liu, Diane Gaston & Amanda McCabe.

Lady Jane’s Salon, Monday, May 4th

If you live in or near the Big Apple, or plan to be in town for Book Expo America, I hope you’ll join Maya Rodale, Leanna Renee Hieber, Ron Hogan, and Yours Truly as we host a very special Lady Jane’s Salon. Local NYC author J.S. Hawley will be reading, along with the authors of Operation L.O.VE.: Anne Elizabeth, Tara Nina, and C.H. Admirand.

A portion of the proceeds from the sale of each copy of OPERATION: L.O.V.E.-the Special Ops Anthology of Sweet Romance is donated to the Special Operations Warrior Foundation, which provides full scholarship grants and educational and family counseling to the surviving children of special operations people who die in operational or training missions and immediate financial assistance to severely wounded special operations people and their families. The book debuts the new military anthology line for Highland Press.

As always, admission is five dollars or a gently-used romance novel to benefit Share The Love. This month only we will be splitting the proceeds with Operation L.O.V.E.

WHEN: Monday, May 4th. 7:00-9:00 pm. 

WHERE: Madame X, 94 Houston Street (btw LaGuardia and Thompson Streets), New York, NY 10012, 212.539.0808, www.madamex.com. Nearest subways: F,V,B,D at Lafayette, N, R at Prince Street.

March Contest Winner & Lady Jane Salon Update

I’m back from my European rambles and pleased to do one of my very favorite things: announce my latest contest winner. Congratulations to Rachael G of Cairo, MO. Rachael’s prize: a signed copy of my single-title historical, Vanquished, and my contemporary category romance, Strokes of Midnight, is en route to her “as we speak.”

Didn’t win this time? No worries. The new contest is up and running, so please check it out. And remember, winners who may have read one or both of the prize books can always donate their copy to Share the Love and brighten the day of a woman working to rebuild her life.

Hope

PS I’m “deadlining” as we say in the biz, but I’m hopeful of posting the highlights of my vacation in the not too distant future, so please stay tuned.

PPS The next Lady Jane’s Salon is scheduled for Monday, April 6th, at Madame X.

PPPS! The New York Post recently gave Lady Jane more than a little love by covering our wintry yet well-attended March 3rd salon.

Happy Valentine’s Day & Congrats Contest Winners

What better way to ring in the Day of Hearts and Flowers than by announcing good news?

((Okay, well maybe I can think of an even better way, but I do try to keep the blog-o-zine at the PG-13 level)).

Congratulations to my three latest contest winners: Jean M of Broomfield, CO; Patricia B of Jonesborough, TN; and Jessica P of Norman, OK. Like so many of you who entered, these savvy ladies knew that in Every Breath You Take…, for years Cole has been rooting for Alex to finish that novel.

Each winner will each receive an Untamed coverflat keepsake and a signed copy of Strokes of Midnight.

Didn’t win this time ’round? In love and life, there’s almost a second chance lurking around the corner. Check out my current Contest and see how you can win and yes, Share the Love with women working to build independent lives.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Hope

What a Lady, What a Night!

“What a lady, what a night…”

So the classic rock song goes and likewise so went last night’s launch of Lady Jane’s Salon, Manhattan’s first (and so far only) reading series devoted to romance fiction. The series, founded by Ron Hogan, Maya Rodale, Leanna Renee Hieber, and Moi benefits Share the Love, which reaches out to groups assisting women-in-transition build independent lives.

Hope chats with a guest during the meet-and-greet.
Hope chats with a guest during the meet-and-greet.

Forty or so attendees packed the elegant Victorian-inspired salon setting of Madame X in Tribeca. Distinguished guests included Carol Stacy, Publisher and Liz French, Managing Editor of Romantic Times BOOKReviews; Maria Lokken and Marisa O’Neill of Romance Novel TV; and Barbara Vey of PW’s uber popular blog, Beyond Her Book. Also on hand to clink glasses was Scandalous Women blogger, Elizabeth Kerri Mahon.

Foreground L-R: Bookseller and reviewer, Stacey Agdern and Barbara Vey, PW's Beyond Her Book.
Foreground L-R: Bookseller and reviewer, Stacey Agdern and Barbara Vey, PW

After a cocktail meet-and-greet, Ron took the stage as emcee to introduce Share the Love and Lady Jane co-founder, Maya Rodale. Maya spoke briefly and eloquently about her one-year-old organization’s mission to distribute gently-used romance novels to groups assisting women-in-transition, such as Women in Need (WIN), a domestic violence shelter located in Manhattan.

Guest author Andrea Pickens chats with the crowd.
Guest author Andrea Pickens chats with the crowd.

Award-winning author, Andrea Pickens got the party started by reading from The Scarlet Spy, the latest in her Regency-set historical series about a plucky group of young women trained as espionage agents. After a short break, during which Andrea and I signed our books, I read from Every Breath You Take…,my latest Harlequin contemporary release.

Books galores. The proceeds from all sales benefited Share The Love.
Books galores. The proceeds from all sales benefited Share The Love.

Last but not least, we made money for the cause as well as collected a cache of fabulous romance novels to be distributed to women working to achieve their own Happily Ever After beginnings. If that’s not sharing the love, I don’t know what is.

Next month’s Lady Jane’s Salon will take place on Monday, March 2nd, 7-9 PM at Madame X with romance authors Lauren Willig and Jenna Petersen as our guest readers. If you’re in Manhattan or passing through, I hope you’ll consider putting Lady Jane’s on your calendar.

Hope

Thanks for stopping by…

Many thanks to the many of you who stopped by yesterday to talk books with me at The Pink Heart Society. As always the chat was lively, and I was in total awe of the eclectic reading that takes place within the romance community. Clearly I’d better get crackin’ to catch up!

I’ll be announcing my three PHS contest winners soon, maybe even later today, so please check back. And if you haven’t already, please take two ticks and enter my regular contest here on the site. The prize is a signed copy of Strokes of Midnight and a coverflat keepsake of Untamed. Like the slogan says, “You gotta play to win.”

Hope

Blogging at The Pink Heart Society

I’m blogging today–all day–at The Pink Heart Society so please don’t be a stranger. The blog topic: What are You Reading?

I’m reading Blake Snyder’s Save the Cat! The book is a humorous and helpful how-to guide on screenwriting from yes, a real Hollywood “insider.” How about you?

Giveaways are three copies of Strokes of Midnight.

Every Breath You Take…It’s Heeeeeeeeeere

Ever wonder what happened to The One Who Got Away?

My latest Harlequin Blaze release, Every Breath You Take… is now shipping from amazon.com–yippee!

A second chance at love story, Every Breath You Take… reunites Alexandra–Alex–Kendall with her One Who Got Away: sexy former FBI special agent Cole Whittaker. But five years have passed. Hurt feelings and yes, secrets have mounted. A mission to steamy Belize provides the chance to put the past behind them and move forward with the future. Before they can, though, they each have to forgive not only the other but most importantly, themselves.

Forgiveness, second chances, redemptive love…it’s beginning to sound “a lot like Christmas,” as they say.

Wishing you a holiday season chock full of sexy second chances…

Hope